At some point last year, the murder total in Detroit was 238. Just a few hundred yards across the river, the Canadian city of Windsor had a total of nil. Asked what he thought was the main cause of Detroit's horrendous statistic, the police chief replied -"Too many illegal guns." Presumably, then, the number of legal guns was optimal.
Talking of murders . . . At the ARCO art fair in Madrid, a statue of General Franco in a fridge naturally monopolised attention. Believe it or believe it not, there is in Spain a National Francisco Franco Foundation. Imagine one for Hitler. Or even Mussolini. Anyway, said foundation professed itself "deeply offended" by the work, adding that it was going to sue the artist. Without any sense of irony, they labelled the statue "an offence that no modern civilisation can tolerate,” and added that it “generates hate.” More on this here.
Back to America . . . On Independence Day 1910, a heavyweight boxing match took place between the world champion, who was black, and the ex world champion, who was white. The latter had been persuaded by a huge purse to do what he'd always previously refused to do and fight a black man. A vast crowd of white men attended to see the black man get whupped and the pre-match rabble-rousing included the national anthem and a song entitled "All coons look alike to me". The fight was scheduled for 45 rounds (yes, 45) but this particular coon stunned the crowd by knocking out the contender in the fifteenth round. There is footage of a few rounds here and if you look hard enough you can even find the song on the web. Apparently, it sparked a whole new genre of 'Coon' songs. They're probably still singing them down in Oporto.
Take a country in which there is already a certain ambivalence about corruption in the public sector and shovel billions of euros into it. Having lit the blue touchpaper, stand back and wait for the inevitable to happen. As Business Week puts it:- As recently as a decade ago, Spain was considered one of the world’s least-corrupt countries. But over the past 7 years, its ranking has slid from 22nd to 31st place on Transparency International’s annual survey of perceptions of corruption worldwide. . . . Spain became a breeding ground for graft during its 15-year real estate boom, says Manuel Villoria, a political scientist at the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid. Which explains why corruption trials seem to dominate the media. Even if some of the most obviously guilty are adjudged by juries to be innocent. You or I should be so lucky.